Saturday, January 25, 2014

The battle with porn

I debated a little regarding posting an article on this topic.
I am a married man, a father, and a Christian, and yes, I have struggled with viewing pornography on line.
I understand a little about addiction, and I believe this is an issue of addiction. A behaviour that does us, and others harm.
I know there would be some who would suggest there is nothing wrong with viewing porn. Maybe even some Christians, but I disagree.
I know, as a Christian, that I have felt broken, hurt, ashamed, guilty, unholy, unworthy, self-hating and many other feelings as a result of viewing porn. It feels wrong, and my conscience is activated and loudly accusing (along with Satan) as a result of this behaviour. So my opinion is that viewing porn is not good for me as a Christian. I also believe it affects those around me, making me angry and moody, and more prone to arguments, as well as having lingering lustful thoughts and images in my mind, which affect the way I perceive other people, and further activates my conscience, and amplifies all the negative feelings I listed above.

I also believe it hurts marriages. Undermining the intimacy and commitment of husband to wife.

I also believe it is a sin. If we believe Jesus words, looking at another woman with lusty thoughts is equal in God's eyes to adultery.

I guess I wouldn't be writing this article if I didn't think there was any hope of change.

Here's what I've found.

Firstly, I believe the first time you commit a particular sin, is the crucial one, breaking a persons strength. What I mean is, the first time a person is tempted to view porn, is the time he has the most power to resist the temptation. (Which is why Satan uses all his ability to deceive and trick us into a wrong action). Once we have given in to the temptation, there is less resistance the next time and so on.

If this resistance/power could be reset, then it would be easier for a person to stop the habit.
Sounds a bit complicated.

The good news is that our purity can be "reset".

I can already hear you saying, "Yes, yes, I know all that. As a believer in Jesus, I know that I am forgiven, all my sins are paid for, we are washed and cleansed and purified and sanctified, but I still look at porn."

OK I grant the truth of what you have said, but before I make my next point, I do want to pause and give thanks for the amazing act of atonement that Jesus completed for our sake on the cross. This atonement is strong. It means that even an adulterer like me can be forgiven, have peace in my conscience and the hope of eternal life and joy with God, as opposed to the torment and suffering of hell. Only Jesus has done this. He is worthy of all our adoration.

"But I still view porn."

My next experience was interesting.

I noticed that when I prayed about my dilemma, as I often did, the matter would be on my mind when I was with my wife (who strongly opposed the whole idea of porn). I would have an argument in my mind along the lines of: " I should tell her I've looked at porn. No, I'm the husband, I am in authority, I'll sort it out myself, just me and God". This would go over and over in my mind.

But I found that once I confessed to my wife, I had renewed strength to stop looking at porn.

OK it took 3 or 4 confessions. BUT each confession got easier, and each result got stronger.

I'm not saying I'm fine now, but I feel much less compelled to look at porn. And it has been many months now. Hopefully this will become years.

It's helped me broach the subject with my kids, I have teen boys.

I truly believe that if we are serious in our desire to change, God will open a way. The Holy Spirit has given us the fruit of self control and He will fill us with power to resist. Not all of us are married. But there is always one person we can trust, who will not condemn us, and who will care for our struggle, and wish to aid us in our time of need.

I am still a sinner. I still need every ounce of grace that God generously pours out on me, but I have benefitted from the absence of that accusing voice in my head, bringing me down, and affecting my relationships.

I hope this is helpful.


Saturday, January 11, 2014


"I must have a purpose to fulfill".

I have heard this comment a few times recently. People who have survived illness or accident against the odds.
The implication is that God intervened in a situation that should have resulted in death, saving the life of the person in danger.
The conclusion being; God has done this because he wants that person to perform a function, carry out an activity, fulfill a duty or task and that this future role is special and somehow unique for that person, and therefore it was worth God's trouble to intervene.
I question this train of thought.

Firstly, does God intervene only when it is worth his while?
Secondly, do these people actually pursue and fulfill these divinely ordained activities? Do they realize at a later point in their life that this was why God saved them, and then, having completed the task, do they die soon afterwards?

What if God chooses, simply out of his pure love, to intervene and save a persons life, not because they are special, not because they have an outstanding task ahead, but simply so that they can go on enjoying the wonderful gift of life and relationships that God gives to all of us?

What if every single one of us has a purpose to fulfill, whether or not we have been saved from the jaws of death?
What if that purpose is a lot more ordinary than those portrayed  in blockbuster movies.
Caring for our loved ones, honoring our word, turning up for work, doing our jobs honestly and carefully, sharing our thoughts and wisdom with those we love, listening to those who need our time, sharing our faith in simple ways, praying for others, mowing the lawn, doing our homework, passing exams?

What if we never achieve anything that is "outstanding"?

We can pretend that we are doing God a favour. I sometimes find myself patting myself on the back for having achieved some worldly goal. Having held back from some habitual sin. Having held my tongue in an argument.
What about the other thousand times I didn't?
If I somehow think that one current good day makes up for the many years of failure then I am deluded.

But grace has appeared.
In and through God's grace, we are truly able to forget about the past and enjoy the present knowing that God has atoned for all our sins. And we can die peacefully, even if we have not achieved any more than a few good days with less arguments.

There is only one redeemer.

Praise be to our Lord, Jesus Christ.